The history of welfare state building in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region is a fertile ground for drawing lessons on inclusive development relevant to today’s developing countries in Asia and the Pacific. This paper traces the varieties of welfare models in Europe and convoluted paths that have led them to different systems of social protection. It also illustrates how social problems have been deliberately addressed as part of national development strategies in the East Asian region as well. “Slow” lessons from Europe emphasize that a solid combination of idea (social citizenship), interest (power balance) and institution (compatible design) is key to the building of dynamic and resilient welfare states. The East Asian experience offers “fast” lessons that welfare policies could be designed as an integral part of economic development. While social protection has always been part and parcel of inclusive growth, it is more pressing than ever today to focus on well-designed social protection to meet the world’s agenda of Sustainable Development Goals.